He attacked Booker as a celebrity politician who had been “anointed by Hollywood” and supported by “Silicon Valley moguls.” Oprah Winfrey and Eva Longoria made campaign appearances for him.
Booker, a rare New Jersey politician who was well known statewide before seeking statewide office, defeated U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone — who both did well only in and near their districts — and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.
A prolific social media user, the 44-year-old Booker has become known through his story: He grew up in a well-off northern New Jersey suburb as the son of IBM executives, played football at Stanford, was a Rhodes Scholar and went to law school at Yale before moving into one of the toughest Newark neighborhoods and launching a career in public service.
As mayor of a city known for crime, corruption and poverty, he’s courted hundreds of millions from philanthropists, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Lonegan, 57, who also grew up in suburban Bergen County and played college football, served three terms as mayor of the small community of Bogota and then became the New Jersey director for Americans for Prosperity.
“It’s going to look like a conservative versus a far-left liberal who’s going to paint a picture of a utopia where government can meet all of our needs,” Lonegan said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think government is a problem.”
Lonegan opposes gay marriage, abortion rights and President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul, and generally wants to scale back the role of government.